Crystal Reports: How Businesses Get Down To Business

by QuickCert on November 1, 2010

Businesses Use Crystal Reports to Get Business Done

There seems to be an indispensable “gold standard” application for just about every task that needs to be completed electronically. For gathering data and channeling it into easy-to-understand visual reports, that application has long been Crystal Reports.

The program, developed by SAP, takes data from any number of sources (including XML files, MySQL and Microsoft Access databases, and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, just to name a few) and outputs that data in an easy-to-understand visual format. Interactive, real-time graphs and data analysis are produced entirely behind the scenes, using the data drawn from a database, to assist business professionals and others in analyzing data, making business decisions, and discovering areas of opportunity.

Perhaps the best use of this software lies in business applications. Consider a new or long-established business researching its customer base. Crystal Reports easily turns demographic data — age of the consumer, income range of the consumer, average number of products bought by a certain demographic group — into an easy-to-understand, interactive graph or report. Using these interpretations of extensive, often complex data, it is easier for businesses to target their areas of opportunity and see, via visual representations, where they’re succeeding and where they lack performance.

And, with the program’s tight integration with the internet, these reports can be shared via Crystal Reports’ server or “On Demand” features, letting anyone with the proper credentials access the reports using just a web browser. This takes a company’s data out of the boardroom and makes it portable, easily viewable in everyday situations with just the click of a mouse.

It becomes easy to see why this software has become so successful. The ability to make complex concepts into simple ones is a basic desire of human nature, and having an easy-to-understand report that is interactive and easy to distribute is the dream of fast-moving, widespread, increasingly-mobile business everywhere. Simply being able to put a friendlier face on complex data, and present complex problems in simple terms, is a highly marketable skill.

And Crystal Reports has cornered the market on applications that do just that. The application comes bundled with Microsoft’s Visual Studio software as well as being a standalone application. This positions the program as an absolutely essential one for any individual who needs to parse data on the fly, and do it efficiently and visually.

Knowing how to use such a vast, useful, and integral application has any number of benefits. First and foremost, database professionals possess very high earning potential, and are often sought out by employers. Because databases are often considered intimidating sources of information, and the professionals who parse that information are in limited supply, knowledge of Crystal Reports is highly marketable and spans professions. From the Fortune 500 companies with virtually unlimited amounts of data, to the small businesses and non-profits that are just emerging into a marketplace and need a constant look at the success of their efforts, the possibilities for a database professional who can use Crystal Reports are endless.

Combined with other skills in the business or technology fields, knowledge of Crystal Reports increases ones importance and value in an organization. Crystal Reports is the perfect additional skill set for the aspiring business professional or recent MBA graduate. Because the program uses Crystal’s own programming language, in addition to BASIC, it makes an easy add-on to any technology professional’s list of skills. And, for those eyeing a career change, knowledge of Crystal Reports offers ways to break into the technology or business fields and fill positions which are becoming more and more numerous while increasing in importance.